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Published: June 18th 2015
Due to a mistake in reading the freaking Euro calender (friday and saturday should be the last two days NOT saturday and sunday. poop, on you euro calendar), we booked our train a day earlier than intended for leaving Linz than we wanted so we wound up with an extra day in Venice. We stayed at the Ostello Domus Civica. Great location! Especially if you don't want to shell out for the vaparoto. Older building and dusty especially if you open the wardrobe, but we had a balcony and very spacious room #40 on the second floor . The shared bathrooms were clean and the staff friendly, but it was hella hot as there was no air conditioning, but we just slept with the windows open and got bitten by bugs. We came in did a luggage drop (totally unsecured so definitely at your own risk) and went into venice mainland to look for a shoe store. We got lucky as Sunday is like ghost town for Europe, but found a mall (take the local subway train which is about three blocks up from the Venice Mestre stop where a bunch of the airport and other busses are stopped. You can get a ticket there if you don't already have one. You're going in the direction that goes OUT of the tunnel above ground. It was like a 10 minute ride and you get off at the large building that says COIN on the outside) where I was able to buy a pair of girly pink laced Asics and saved my feet! Unfortunately, Susan changed shoes with me for the few hours until we could get to a store and also hurt her right ankle wearing the shoes. So again, do NOT buy Saucony's! Though actually I think the right shoe was defective, incidentally we just left them behind at our second hostel in Venice. Anyhoo, back to Venice, we chillaxed in our room and woke up from naps around 7pm and headed out to find a place to eat. We just did one of my random walkabouts until we came across a place next to a grocery store that I got good vibes from, it was called Al Garzoti, very good food and drinks with great portions at a very reasonable price, not well signed but it was right at the end of a footbridge next to a grocery store. After dinner, we grabbed some stuff at the grocery and again took advantage of the liberal open container laws as we got lost/made our way back to the hostel for their 12am curfew.
Next day, we got up and made our way over to the Generator hostel where we were staying for the bulk of this trip. We thought we'd surprise our travelmate who was arriving into Venice that afternoon at the train station, but unfortanately she gave us the wrong time so that wound up not really working out that well. We spent Monday touristing in Venice: walking through the decaying streets and canals and buildings that are so beautiful and doomed, went to a not so great tapas restaurant , left and then recovered a bag of important stuff at a restaurant, watched pigeons attack stupid tourists and rose guys hustle in st. mark's square. The street hawking was STRONG in vence (one euro, good price!). Didn't get to do too much because of the ankle, as I was saving my foot for our intended purpose: three days of arting at the 2015 venice bieannale.
All the World's Futures: excellent exhibition title set high expectations. Was really excited for this year as my former professor, Terry Adkins, was an exhibiting artist as well as my total art fangirl crush Adrian Piper. Neither disappointed. It was bittersweet to get to see Terry's work, but I'm so glad to have been able to see so much of it presented so well. It was definitely some of the finest work there. I can't say I had the same excitement for the rest of the bieannale. I would say that I was generally underwhelmed this year compared to 2013 and felt the Arsenale was far better than the Giardini, whereas my previous experience I felt they were both equally good. The standout piece for me was Austria's pavillion in which Heimo Zobering perfectly spot on manifested this year's central theme; the present is as it did/did not exist and the past and future are as the present says they did/did not or will exist. very simple, clean and wonderful. Other standouts for a mix of inspiration, installation and a general sense of liking what i was seeing were: Korea, Japan, Republic of Slovenia, Czech and Slovak Republic, Hungary, Finland, Mexico, Sweden and Switzerland. I also enjoyed these artists: Phillippe, Parreno, Melvin Edwards, Adel Abdessemed, Taryn Smith (loved!), Christian Boltanski, Fabio Mauri and Elena Damiani. This is Susan now. The biennale is equally exciting for non-artists. It is like being an explorer. As you wander through the streets, you happen upon a ton of exhibits. Some or great and others are not. Some of them are biennale *they have official signs with red stamps in the corner * and many are not. Some of the ones that aren't biennale, I loved just as much. Like this cool exhibit by a Chinese artist collective that had taken a shoe shop that was closing and covered everything in a dripping wax. It was beautiful, and much better than a similar piece that was in the Giardini. The other thing that I discovered is that contemporary art is mixing into entertainment and several exhibits were educational as well as like an amusement part. The best one was Armpit, where you learned about garage culture in Latvia; you walked through it and there were tons of tvs and videos documenting the men's work as well as a tower where you sat and the videos spun around you. That one was very cool and very well done. At the other extreme, there was a mini golf course that you could play through and the ball would go through art pieces that were relatively vulgar or political. I didn't like that one at all.
Only made it to a few offsites, but getting to Dansaekhwa, a collateral event of Korean artists, is a MUST SEE. Oh my god, so many gorgeous abstract miinimalist paintings! I basically re-aggravated my injury climbing the stairs to see this and it was so worth it. The adjoining exhibition of Lee Ufan sculpture and painting was equally awesome.
We really enjoyed Venice on the trip, the bieannale, even though slightly dissapointing, was an adventure and despite the art overload it's definitely invigorating and informative to see as an artist and was also a good chance to network (which we did with our awesome two sided cards!), the weather held for the most part and we even met up with some artist friend's of Sarah's who showed us an awesome time, cheap drinks at a communist bar and local eats included.
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